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April 10, 1992 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-04-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 10, 1992- Page 5 1

:

by Melissa Peerless
Daily Administration Reporter
When people think of
Taco Bell, the
University Board of
Regents may be the
last thing that comes to mind.
However, one member of the
University Board of Regents - who
moonlights as a Taco Bell franchise
owner- sports a company watch to
each meeting with little tacos in
place of numbers on the dial.

Michael Hannon, chief of staff
for state Rep. Perry Bullard (D-Ann
Arbor), said constitutional amend-
ments must pass both houses of the
state legislature or be approved by
half of Michigan's voters.
"The problem is that two-thirds
of both the House and Senate must
pass the bill. You can't get two-
thirds of both houses to decide when
to have lunch," he said.
Hannon added that he thinks the
University will try to prevent the
placement of a student on the board.
"I would say it's highly improba-
ble to see a student on the board," he
said. "It would be a very difficult
task."
Most regents, students and
administrators acknowledge it would
be virtually impossible to place a
student on the University Board of
Regents. However, the Michigan
Student Assembly is establishing a
committee to look into the prospect.
Ken Bartlett, MSA Campus
Governance chair, is currently inter-
viewing students to fill positions on
the newly-formed Student Regent
Advisory Committee.
"I really don't see that it's feasi-
ble that we get a student on the
board," he said. "This committee is
going to explore the situation care-
fully, and look for an alternative
solution if we can't get a student
into the Regents' Room."
The Student Regent Advisory
Committee will have seven mem-
bers, including the MSA vice presi-
dent. Bartlett said he went to student
organizations and put up fliers to
recruit candidates.
"It's hard because the University
is such a diverse campus," he said.
"We want to form a committee of
seven people who come from
diverse backgrounds, but also can
work together well. Very seldom do
different groups get together to
work."
Bartlett said he doesn't know
how the regents will react to the
idea.

Regent Deane Baker
Another regent meets frequently
with pop guitarist Jon Bon Jovi. She
owns a guitar string factory, and she
says the teen idol simply can't get
enough of her product. After meet-
ing with Bon Jovi, this same regent
may spend the next few hours tying

who really wants the job would be
able to get elected to the post. "It
couldhappen if the person is dedi-
cated and could convince the dele-
gates at the convention that they are
qualified for the job."
Regent Shirley McFee (R-Battle
Creek) agreed a student regent
would be an asset to the board, but
said she opposed amending the state
constitution to place a student
directly on the board. "The board
makes many decisions that affect
students," she said. "If a student
wants to be a regent, a student
should go through the election pro-
cess."
McFee said she would favor a
student on the board elected by nor-
mal means.
Hannon said it would be impossi-
ble for a student to compete with a
community member for a regental
seat. "The reason regents are regents
is that they are active in their politi-
cal parties," he said. "They give
money. Students don't have it."
Hannon added that the mandated
eight-year term would also cause
problems for the student regent.
"If it was a student regent, when
they were no longer a student they
would have to get off the board, and
this would result in a shorter term -
three years, for example," he said.
"The less time on the board, the less
effective the person. If the
regents disagreed with
the student, they
are going to
be around
far eight
years,
s 0

against their personal wisnes.
"The regents must stop being
fair-weather fans to the students," he
said. "They need to take the stu-
dents' opinions into account and
never forget them, especially if it's
something that they do not agree

Regent Neal Nielsen
up loose ends as mayor of Battle
Creek, Mich.
Three regents are lawyers, one is
a newspaper publisher, one a presi-
dent of a development company and
one a real estate developer.
But what about a regent who
wears sweatshirts and baseball caps,
meets frequently with TAs and
roommates, and labors in labs and
libraries?
Recent instances of strained stu-
dent-regent relations - housing rate
hikes, the regental decision to accept
authority over the University's dep-
utized police force despite student
protests and violent outbursts during
scheduled public hearings to discuss
deputization - have led members
of the University community to con-
sider the option of placing a student
on the board.
The Michigan Constitution says
that the regents "shall have general
supervision of its institution and the
control and direction of all expendi-
tures from the institution's funds."
The state constitution also mandates
there be eight regents who serve
eight-year terms. It necessitates that
regents be popularly elected by the
citizens of Michigan.
Regent Paul Brown (D-Petoskey)
F ,
student regent. .
"People have been thinking about
putting a student on the board for
- years. That idea comes forth all the
time," he said. "The problem is that
it's not in the constitution."

Regent Philip Power
with. A student on the board would
help keep the regents aware of stu-
dent concerns on every issue."
Van Houweling added it would
be difficult to put an amendment
allowing a student regent on the
Michigan ballot because "some
powerful lawmakers think it would
be a conflict of interest to be a stu-
dent and have a hand in making
University policy at the same time."
But Bartlett said that this is not
the case.
"I don't buy into the theory of a
conflict of interest at all," he said.
"We are people with a much greater
concern and involvement for what
goes on on campus than the regents.
We want to make our school and
environment the best that it can be."
Hannon said a student on the
board would have the same conflict
of interest as a regent who has a
child enrolled in the University.
"Just as'a student could make
policy to directly benefit himself, so
could a regent," he said. "Lower
tuition and housing rates benefit stu-
dents who go to the University of
Michigan, but they also benefit par-
ents. Assuming that the regents foot
the bills for their children's educa-
tion, low tuition and housing would
benefit them tremendously as well."
He said that working within
Michigan's current system, a student
could never get elected to the

Media
should have
left Ashe's
story untold
Tennis legend Arthur Ashe has
AIDS. I know this is true, and mo
than likely, you do too.
The problem is, I don't think w
should.
Ashe made this announcement
yesterday at a news conference in
New York. The story moved across
the news wires and appeared in
newspapers
throughout
the country, Ma he
including this M ~ e
one. R n i
But Ashe R n i
didn't want to
make his
health
condition
public. Since
realizing he
had the
disease in - p
1988, he,
chose to tell only his close friends
and family members
However, someone leaked
information to USA Today -
"ratted on me," Ashe said - telling
of his disease. Doug Smith, the
newspaper's tennis reporter,
confronted Ashe with the report in,
an attempt either to confirm or
deny it.
Ashe, fearing that a story would
be printed whether or not he talked.
to the reporter, called a news
conference Wednesday to make his
announcement.'
The news conference was a big:
story; the decision to cover it is
automatic. When a Wimbledon
winner makes such an announce-
ment, it's news.
The question is whether Ashe
should have had to reveal his secret
at all. Like most ethical questions,
this is complex.
Ashe is a public figure and
thereby surrenders many of his
rights'to privacy. Often, private
matters, like a person's alcoholism,
can affect how he or she serves the
public. In those cases, the public
has a right to this information, and'
newspapers report these facts.
This is not the case with Ashe.
As a commentator for both HBO
Sand ABCsports;Ashe was unaf-
fected by his disease. He and his
family members were the only
people affected by the disease, and
those were the only people that
knew about it.
No one would have been hurt ifF
the story had never gone to press,
but today a family grieves because
it did.
Why didn't Ashe make a public
announcement when he knew he
contracted the disease? His reason
do not matter. He simply wanted to
keep the matter private.
"I am angry that I was put in a
position of having to lie if I wanted
to protect my privacy," Ashe said.
"I didn't commit any crime. I
should be able to reserve the right
to keep things like that private."
The only reason to pursue such
a story is to satisfy the public's

thirst for information on the private
lives of public figures. The more
surprising the information, the
bigger the story. Stories like this
sell newspapers.
Which is why the National
Enquirer is so successful.
Although equating USA Today
with the Enquirer is extreme, the
mainstream media seem to be
edging closer and closer to super-
market tabloid journalism. People
care less about the accurate
coverage of events and more about,
the celebrity gossip reporters can
dig up.
And if you are one of the people
who today feels the media treated
Ashe unfairly, ask yourself how
you'd feel if you knew your
newspaper had known about the
story but kept it hidden.
Would you feel cheated out of
information? Betrayed by the
media on which you rely for your
news?
Newspapers are often so
consumed with trying to satisfy
their readers' curiosity that they
lose sight of the people they are
writing about.
The line between what the
public does and does not have a
right to know is difficult to draw.
The questions to ask are: (1) Who

I

V

coop-
eration
with the
Univ e rsity
will lend legiti-
macy to MSA's
voice. "It will give us more
of a hand in decision-making.. It's
not the same as a radical group try-
ing to force its way into the Regents'
Room," he said.
Regent Veronica Smith (R-
Grosse Ile) said she would not be
opposed to having a student sit on

f

q w a it
until the
student is
someone they can
brainwash."
Brown said putting a student on
the board of regents is not the best
way to put more of a student voice
into University decisions.
"The best way for students to
handle this type of situation is
through the student government," he
said. "If they are not representing
the students as well as they should
be, then they should be voted out of
office."
Brown added he thinks it would
be difficult to find one student to
represent the University's diverse
student body.
LSA sophomore and Black
Student Union member Amy Ellis
agreed with Brown.
"I don't think that it would be a
good idea to make one student into a
regent," she said. "There is nobody
who could represent all of the stu-
dents at Michigan."
Ellis said that although MSA is
supposed to represent University
students, she doesn't feel that
President James Green represents
her.
"James Green is supposed to rep-
resent us all, but he does not respond
to everyone's concerns," she said.
"A distinct portion of the student
body is being left out in his policies
and decisions."
Bartlett agreed finding one truly
representative student would be
impossible.
"It's going to be hard to pick one
student to represent the whole cam-
pus," he said. "Instead, we are look-
ing for a student who will be recep-
tive to all the concerns on campus.
We need a person who can say, 'My
constituency as a student regent is
all students on campus. My job is to
r~n n l of the~mt",

I

Regent Nellie Varner
University Board of Regents, and "it
will take an impossible string of
events to change the system."
However, University students,
administrators and the regents them-
selves haven't given up on the issue.
Smith said, "Never say never."
Li

the board, as long as correct proce-
dure is followed. "I think having a
student on the board of regents is a
great idea," she said. "Of course, the
person would have to go through the
proper channels and get elected like
the rest of us."
Smith said she thinks a student

Regent James Waters

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